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Shopping Saturday: A Trip to Town in 1906 by the Roberts Family of Jasper County, Iowa- Part 3

Schoolhouse, Marshall Co., Iowa, via Library of Cogress; Farm Security Administration. This is NOT the schoolhouse near the Roberts homestead, but is very similar. Note “the necessary” out back.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Edith ROBERTS continues her story of growing up on the farm in Jasper County, Iowa, and tells us about the actual trip from the farm to town. Together with her father, George A. ROBERTS, her mother, Ella V. (DANIEL) ROBERTS, and her big brother Georgie A. ROBERTS and her older sister Ethel G. ROBERTS, the family made the (weather-permitting) weekly visit to Newton, Iowa into a lovingly remembered event.

“Brother would have driven the skittish team [of horses] to the kitchen door and was having a time holding them in check. We were all ready. Dad had carried out the hot bricks that had been heating in the oven. He wrapped them in many sheets of newspaper, and scattered them in the straw [of the wagon].

Now I had to submit to the indignity of lying on the sitting room floor and be wrapped up in a soft brown shawl. Mother would toss the top of the shawl over my head, and brother … [or] Dad would pick me up like a sack of flour and carry me to the waiting bobsled, If it was Brother, he would jump me unceremoniously into the soft straw. I was so bundled up I could hardly sit upright. I was still squealing; “I can’t see, I can’t see.” so as my mother settled herself into the wagon she took the cover off my face. Sister who was sitting opposite us was already shivering, as she had not put on the sweater mother had told her to. Dad had thrown a lap robe over us. It was from Sears, Roebuck. A plush-like material with a fancy design on one side. How good the warm bricks feel.”

As Edith told her stories, it was obvious that they took her back in time to where she could feel the warm bricks even 60 or 70 years later.

“Brother and dad would be standing up in front. Perhaps on this trip dad would hand the lines, or reins, to brother, and he would proudly turn us around and head straight northeast towards Newton. [They would pass a schoolhouse similar to the one pictured above.]

“If it had snowed enough so that the fences were covered and Skunk River had frozen over, by going directly across the river and fences, we would make better time, and of course the distance was much shorter. The sleigh bells were jangling merrily, as the horses, still feeling their mettle, were really making time. Brother would have to lean back, pulling on the reins to check their speed. Both dad and brother would be wearing fur coats, made from the hides of the beeves [beef cows] we had butchered. Their caps were fur-lined and their long high-cuffed mittens were warm, and make holding on to the reins easier.”

Again, in her writing, Edith seems transported back to that time, making it no longer just the past, but a part of her. She did miss her family, as she outlived her parents and siblings, and the ways of life on the farm were rapidly disappearing.

Edith finished her story:

“The sun was glistening on the hard crusted snow, making millions maybe zillions of flashing diamond like particles on the snow. By this time I was sleepy, and the last I would remember was the cheery sound of the sleigh bells. Mother was so warm and comforting beside me as I went to sleep, and I didn’t know anything until we drove up in front of the grocery store. Mother and sister and I got out while dad and brother took the team of horses to the livery stable to be fed and stabled until time to go home.

“A busy interesting day was ahead of us.”

And so Ellie (DANIEL) ROBERTS would barter her delicious butter, eggs, and other homemade delights at the Newton grocery, and “Shopping Saturday” would begin in earnest for the Roberts family in 1906.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “A Trip to Town, 1906–Wintertime” by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. Written in the 1960s-1970s for her grandchildren.

 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Workday Wednesday: A Trip to Town in 1906 by the Roberts Family of Jasper County, Iowa, Part 2

Farm in Snow, Grundy Co., Iowa, via Library of Cogress; Farm Security Administration. This is NOT the Roberts family farm, but gives an idea of what it would have looked like in winter.

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

When the ROBERTS family went into town in 1906, it was not just a fun trip. Part of the reason for the journey was to sell products made on the farm to grocers in town.

As Edith M. ROBERTS told the story sixty years later,

“We lived ten miles from Newton, Iowa. Once a week, weather permitting, we made a trip to Newton, winter and summer. Mother made butter to sell, and the store, where mother took her butter, had regular customers for it, so we had to make this trip weekly if at all possible. It was said: “If for any reason we did not get to town, or were late in arriving, her butter customers would wait until mother did get to town.”

The “workday” of Edith’s mother concerning the butter they were taking to town actually took more than one day when one considered all the different tasks that ended up becoming beautiful, creamy butter. To start with, each day of the week would have begun early for Ella V. (DANIEL) ROBERTS, with a cold trip from the house to the warm barn with the milch (milk) cows. She would be carrying pails for the milk and likely one with water she had heated up on her stove, so that she could wash the udders of the cows and relax them, so that milk letdown would occur. Although a heavy, short and stout woman, Ellie sat on a small 3-legged stool, and would use her warmed hands to coax the white milk full of fat out of the udders. The two daughters (Ethel and Edith) would have helped at times, and maybe even son Georgie when he was young. The pails full of warm milk would be carried carefully to the house, trying to not spill what was likely about 40 lbs. of liquid and pail. The trip to the house would have started to cool the milk in the cold winters, and the high-fat cream would be rising to the top as they entered the warm kitchen. This whole  scenario would be repeated again in the evening- and every day, every week, every month, every year. Cows must be milked when it is time.

Edith continued her story:

“During the week mother would have churned the butter from thick cream, and worked and worked it with a wooden butter paddle to get out all the salt and brine.

Butter paddles, AKA Scotch hands, butter pats, etc, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0.

They say, that Mr. Hough, (the grocer where we took our butter,) would finger-test each role of butter for saltiness. (Not very sanitary, now is it?)

We had a special market basket that mother lined with newspapers, and then a snow-white sugar sack was put in, to hold the well formed oblong rolls of butter. Each roll had daisy design pressed in the top. Mother would carefully fold over the sack and set it aside to put in the bobsled in the winter, or in the buggy in summer, when we were ready to leave the house for Newton. These sacks had been bleached during the summer with salt and lemon juice. We always bought our sugar in 50 pound sacks, and flour in sacks or hundred pound barrels.”

Butter was not the only farm commodity brought in to town folks. Ellie made cakes and pies too, and,

“In the summer we had eggs for sale, but our flock [of] Plymouth Rock chickens did not lay well in the winter. Some said we should have a flock of Leghorn chickens, but dad would not have a fluttering Leghorn on the place, nor would he have any guineas, ducks, geese or Jersey cattle on our farm. My dad was pretty definite [sic] in his ideas.”

 

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “A trip to Town 1906– Wintertime” by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck, written for her grandchildren in the 1960s-1970s.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Travel Tuesday: A Trip to Town in 1906 by the Roberts Family of Jasper County, Iowa-Part 1

Horses in Snow in Marshall County, Iowa, 1940, by U.S. Farm Security Administration.

 

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Although the above image is not for Jasper County, Iowa, and was taken much later than 1906, the view would have been much the same for little Edith Roberts [later McMurray Luck] and her family as they drove to town in the long, cold winters of her childhood.

Edith wrote stories, spurred on by her dearest granddaughter, of her years growing up on the family farm. People travelled and visited more than many of us thought they would in those days, and in Iowa in winter, that would mean a horse (or two) carrying them through ice, snow, blizzards, etc. (They took the train to some places, but with living way out in a rural area, one would have to get to a larger town or city for a train depot.)

“We lived ten miles from Newton, Iowa. Once a week, weather permitting, we made a trip to Newton, winter and summer. “

Edith’s parents were George Anthony ROBERTS (1861-1939) and Ella Viola DANIEL ROBERTS (1866-1922). Edith’s big brother, whom she adored, was George A. ROBERTS, Jr. (1889-1965). She loved her sister, Ethel Gay ROBERTS ROBISON (1891-1969) very much too, even risking the wrath of their father as she passed notes to Ethel from the boyfriend her father did not like. (Ethel married that boyfriend, Bert ROBISON, and her father disowned her, never speaking to her again or acknowledging her children.) But I digress, and we need to get back to 1906, when Edith’s just seven years old, and the family was heading to town.

Here is a description, in Edith’s words, of some of the preparation for their trip:

“Brother would be outside getting the horses and bobsled (or buggy) ready. To make up the bobsled they would put a wagon box on the two sets of runners and two sets of sideboards on the wagon box to cut down the wind blowing across the wagon box. Then they dumped a lot of clean straw in the wagon box and scattered it around, making it a foot deep at least. It smelled so fresh and clean.”

Getting ready to leave meant dressing for the weather, as well as wanting to look good when one got into town.

“While mother was hurrying around seeing that I got dressed, and sister too, Dad would still be warming his back at the oven door. He was always so cold. He had had sciatica-rheumatism before I was born and had had to learn to walk again.”

Edith was the baby and beloved by her father, who had red hair, as she did. (Her brother Georgie had red hair as well.)

“I would be would be wearing either a blue dress or a red one, whichever was the older. The newer one would be kept for special occasions. Every winter I would have one new dress, just one. When I pranced out for my dad’s admiration, he would say; “Well, well, my girl is a red bird today, what is yours?” or a bluebird, if I was wearing the blue dress.”

Ethel was fifteen in 1906, so was very concerned with how she looked before the trip.

“Mother would be insisting that sister put on a sweater as she was never dressed warm enough. She would say; “Button up your coat, and tie that fascinator closer around your neck.” A fascinator was a long wide scarf very soft and warm. Sister had worked on her hair all morning and did not want to spoil it.”

Leaving the house was not as easy as checking our programmable thermostats (ok, who even bothers with that??). One had to plan ahead, as they knew they would be very cold by the time they got back home:

“Dad or mother would bank the fire in the cook stove so that all we had to do when we got home was just stir it up, and with some corn cobs and a dash of kerosene the fire would be going in short order. No one was allowed to use kerosene except mother and dad.”

 

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “A Trip to Town, 1906–Wintertime” by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. Written in the 1960s-1970s for her grandchildren.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Family Recipe Friday: Edith Roberts Luck’s Pineapple Cookies

Grandma Edie's Pineapple Drop Cookies- front. (Click to enlarge.)
Grandma Edie’s Pineapple Drop Cookies- front. (Click to enlarge and see below before making.)
Grandma Edie's Pineapple Drop Cookies- back. (Click to enlarge.)
Grandma Edie’s Pineapple Drop Cookies- back. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Daniel Family (Click for Family Tree)

Cooking was an integral part of the life of a farm wife. Edith Roberts McMurray Luck inherited the cooking gene from her mother, Ella V. Daniel Roberts. Edith wrote in her family stories:

Mama was an excellent cook. Nothing fancy, but just good country cooking. There was always room for another pair of legs under our table. Always enough for another mouth. I still feel I should do the same thing. Funny how these teachings stay [w]ith us. 

One of the most special stories that Edith wrote to her grandchildren was entitled, “A Winter Afternoon 1904.” Edith was just five years old, and it was amazing how she was able to so clearly remember incidents from her very early years. She reminisced:

Mother and I had had a nap and I was playing in the kitchen, while Mama was taking out of the oven huge loaves of bread and a pan of six inch high biscuits.

There must have been a dozen in this particular pan she always used for these biscuits. The fragrance from the freshly baked bread was delightful. The golden-browned tops were well greased, making them even more delicious to eat. Mother used a potato water starter. I don’t know just how she did it. I do know that sister was always warned not to upset the cup of starter on the table in the pantry. She baked once a week.

Of course, during harvest season Ellie Roberts would have been baking probably every day, as there were a lot of hired hands to feed. She would have had help though, with neighboring women coming to the Roberts farm to assist in the kitchen, and then Ellie Roberts would go to one of their farms when the threshers moved on. Add in the extra women, young girls who helped, and little children, and there were a lot of mouths to feed!

Edith continued her story:

It was about time for the kids to come home from school. If I timed it right I could stand on a chair and watch for them to leave the school grounds. We were just a quarter of a mile from the school-house. This afternoon I was standing on a chair jugging from one foot to the other with a carpet ball in my hands. A big basket of them was under the resevoir [sic]. Also near the stove was a tall can of thick cream. It was being warmed to churn the next morning. Mother had warned me to be careful. Finally, while I was shouting; “They are coming, they are coming.” she said sharply; “Edith Mae Roberts, if you drop one of those carpet balls in that cream you will get a hard spanking.” Under my breath I said; “I wish my name was not Edith Mae Roberts.” I was teased about this for years. “So you don’t want to be called Edith May Roberts huh?”

The kids came in all hot and breathless and covered with snow. All hungry as little bears. I knew mother would fix them one of those fresh biscuits and I would get half of one too, with either plum butter or apple butter on it. Delicious! I can almost taste them now.

**********************

The above recipe was a family favorite. We don’t know if it was passed down from her mother or if Edith found it elsewhere. These cookies are unique and totally delicious, especially when frozen and ‘liberated’ from the deep freeze in the midst of a hot Iowa summer without air conditioning.

Like most family recipes, it was told to the writer as Edie was cooking, and she had made the recipe so many times that she didn’t think about things like whether or not to drain the pineapple, which is likely the way to go- it will depend on the moisture in the air when you are baking, and you may need a bit of the juice. These are excellent without the nuts, too, although pecans are very good in them. If the kitchen is warm, pop the dough in the refrigerator for a bit to firm up before baking, or the cookies will spread out too much. The bottoms of these cookies brown quickly, as do the pineapple bits, so do not use a dark pan- an insulated sheet might work better, though of course such things were not available to Edith or her mother as they baked in a wood-fired stove and later Edith’s prized electric oven.  Edie always added a buttercream icing after cooling that was delicious plain or with additional crushed pineapple mixed in. The yield of 3-4 dozen was for farmhands and threshers, it seems- they are very large. Smaller cookies puff up taller and have a better icing:cooky ratio per results of many taste tests over the years.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family recipe.

2) “The kids” coming home from school would have been Edith’s brother George A. Roberts, Jr. and their sister, Ethel Gay Roberts.

3) The above is not Edith’s handwriting- that was challenging to read. She typed most of her recipes but this one was written as she told it, probably sometime in the 1960s or early 70s.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Sentimental Sunday: Roberts Genealogy in an Address Book

Page from an address book of Edith Roberts (McMurray) Luck, with genealogical information of family and friends.
Page from an address book of Edith (Roberts) (McMurray) Luck, with genealogical information of family and friends.

Sometimes the small ephemera left by a person can be so personal that it makes me sentimental about them and the sweet times we had together. Seeing the handwriting, seeing who is important in her life, and just noting that this was information that she thought was important enough to pass on, touches my heart. Edith (Roberts) (McMurray) Luck is a big part of why I love family history so much, so this find made me very sentimental about the times she talked about her family, and drove us all over the county to visit her cousins and elderly relatives. There was only one of the new-fangled copiers in town, and family members would not allow us to take their treasures, so my sister and I copied obituaries, letters, etc., by hand, using a purple Flair pen (the coolest thing to come out of the 60s). There are precious documents that were shared that hot Iowa summer, items that would have been lost forever had we not transcribed them in the 1960s.

Here is a transcription and some details about the persons she listed:

Grandpa Daniels  [Robert Woodson Daniels- Edith’s maternal grandfather] March 21-1862

enlisted Rocklimogen W. Vir

5’8″

Light complexion- Light hair   Grey eyes

discharged fm USA [United States Army] March 25-1865

was 23 years

Born May 26-1843

Died June 20-1922  79 years

 

Grandma Daniels [Margaret Ann Hemphill Daniels- Edith’s maternal grandmother]

Marg A.

Born Sept 25- 1839

died Dec 19- 1915   76 years

 

George Roberts [George Anthony Roberts, Edith’s father]

Born Nov 18 -1861        78 years

died April 18 -1939          5 months

0 days

 

Ella V. Daniels [Ella Viola (Daniels) Roberts, Edith’s beloved mother]

Born Oct 29 1866        55 yrs- 3 mo- 18 days

Died Jan 17 1922        56 yrs.

 

Georgie Roberts [Edith’s brother, George Anthony Roberts, Jr.]  June 30 1965 [death date]    76 [years]   -1889 [birth year]

 

Ethel Robison  [Edith’s sister, Ethel Gay Roberts, married to Bert Robison]  Jan 28 1969 [death date]  78 [years]  1891 [birth year]

 

Winnie Carson [Edith’s first cousin- Winnie Viola Walker was the daughter of Lily G. (Daniels) Walker, Edith’s mother’s sister, and married Archibald Carson (1892-1982)]   June 1997 [June 1897 was when Winnie was born- an error in Edith’s notes]

 

Hilma Stines  [Edith’s first cousin and sister of Winnie Viola Walker, both daughters of Lily G. (Daniels) Walker, Edith’s mother’s sister; married Ruben M. Stines.] Ap. 1900 [birth date either April 1900 or approximately 1900; census calculation indicates about 1902 for birth.]

 

Mrs. Annie Hunniball   [Eliza Ann Fletcher, a close friend and neighbor of Edith as an adult. Annie was born 18 Dec 1880 in Timworth, Suffolk, England, and married Albert John Hunniball (1877-1965); they never had children. As a young woman, Annie worked in one of the palaces of the British Queen.] Died 7.45 PM.

1971  Tues Jan 26- Buried

Thurs Jan 28

 

As I was typing out these names and dates, I thought it somewhat ironic that Edith would have used a page from her address book that had a place for a phone number, since telephones were unknown when some of these persons were born. But then, maybe it was not so ironic, since the lifetimes of these folks spanned a simpler time, leading up to the use of the telephone and even the automobile in the early 1900s. By 1914, the US had the most telephones per capita of any country, so even Margaret Ann (Hemphill) Daniels may have seen or used a telephone before her death in 1915, depending on when it was introduced to their rural area. What an amazing time period to have lived, from the late 1830s until the nineteen-teens and twenties. The changes in technology were just astounding during that time span.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.